By Colin Bundy
“South Africa is a place where the dust never settles. The past is always palpable in its present. In this exceptionally thoughtful book, one of the country’s most distinguished historians, Colin Bundy, explains quite how much this is true. For all its brevity, Short Changed? packs a hefty punch: not only does it offer a compelling explanation for the fall of apartheid, but it makes a very persuasive case for the ways in which the long shadow of colonialism has insinuated itself, is insinuating itself, into the South African here-and-now—and into its probable futures.”
John Comaroff, Harvard University
“If I was asked by a first time visitor for an accessible guide to the complexities of modern South Africa, I’d suggest Colin Bundy’s Short-Changed. But this isn’t just a primer for beginners. His overview of how South Africa has altered since 1994 contains plenty of fresh insight and new arguments for specialists as well.”
Tom Lodge, professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Limerick
“In Shortchanged? South Africa since Apartheid, Colin Bundy provides a powerfully incisive analysis of how the past continues to reverberate in post-apartheid South Africa. He also shows how the prospects for change hinge crucially on confronting the legacies of the past.”
Gillian Hart, author of Rethinking the South African Crisis
“Bundy’s lively and deeply insightful book demonstrates the importance of historical analysis for those who wish to understand contemporary South Africa. Bundy shows that the country's past continues to cast a long shadow over her present; and he argues that the dangers and opportunities that the future holds can only be understood in the context of long range patterns of accumulation and exploitation.”
Anthony Butler, University of Cape Town
What have been the most significant developments—political, social, economic—in South Africa since 1994? How much has changed since the demise of apartheid, and how much remains stubbornly the same? Should one celebrate a robust democracy now two decades old, or lament the corrosive effects of factionalism, greed, and corruption on political life? Colin Bundy tries to answer such questions, while avoiding simplistic or one-sided assessments of life under Mandela, Mbeki, and Zuma. He recognizes real advances under ANC rule but also identifies the limits and contradictions of such progress. Bundy demonstrates, too, how the country’s past permeates the present, complicating and constraining the politics of transition, so that genuine transformation has been short-changed.
Colin Bundy is one of South Africa’s foremost historians and the author of The Rise and Fall of the South African Peasantry as well as the biography of Govan Mbeki in the series Ohio Short Histories of Africa. More info →
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Govan Mbeki (1910–2001) was a core leader of the African National Congress, the Communist Party, and the armed wing of the ANC during the struggle against apartheid. Known as a hard-liner, Mbeki was a prolific writer and combined in a rare way the attributes of intellectual and activist, political theorist and practitioner.
South Africa’s Suspended Revolution tells the story of South Africa’s democratic transition and the prospects for the country to develop a truly inclusive political system. Beginning with an account of the transition in the leadership of the African National Congress from Thabo Mbeki to Jacob Zuma, the book then broadens its lens to examine the relationship of South Africa’s political elite to its citizens.
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